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Here are the top food and nutrition trends for 2023

While nutrition is an evolving science, food trends come and go. Each year new food and nutrition trends arise based on widespread changes in food preferences and values, influenced by marketing, people and taste. While some trends may be regional and short-lived, others can be nationwide and exist for many years. Although food trends are not always well-aligned with health, as consumers have become better educated about nutrition, food trends have become more health-promoting.

This past year we saw a shift towards redefining “healthy,” which included a growing emphasis on body positive messages and the idea that health looks different on everyone. With COVID continuing to impact our lives in 2022, immune health continued to take center stage. Plant-based foods continue to soar in popularity. So what can we expect for 2023?

Here are some of the top food and nutrition trends predicted for the New Year that will likely have some staying power:

Healthier comfort foods

From high-fiber tortillas and prebiotic sodas to low-sugar chocolate and vegan macaroni and cheese, crave-worthy products that are better for you are in high demand. Those who are looking to steer away from restrictive and fad diets are opting to include healthier versions of their favorite foods as a part of their typical eating plan.

Budget-friendly meal planning

With the prices of groceries up well over 10 percent and the cost of many staple items like eggs, flour, milk, chicken and coffee up substantially more, families are looking for money-saving strategies, which certainly impacts eating habits. To cope with inflated prices, shoppers are buying fewer items and shopping in bulk, eating out less often and cutting back on nonessential items. To keep up with higher costs, home cooks are leaning on budget-conscious and scratch recipes and using more inflation-friendly ingredients like potatoes, canned seafood, tomatoes, citrus fruit and even some cheeses.

Sober-curious beverage options

There’s already a surge in the popularity of nonalcoholic beers, spirits and wine, which is likely to continue to flourish in the New Year. Those taking part in the sober-curious movement are not necessarily nondrinkers, but those taking breaks from drinking booze and opting for low-alcohol and non-alcoholic alternatives both at home and when out.

Upcycled and zero-waste foods

The way folks are defining sustainable and eco-conscious food continues to evolve. Buzz words like organic, local and fair trade have been synonymous with sustainability over the years. As technology evolves, new food products are changing and expanding options for sustainable food sources. For example, upcycled foods are made from ingredients that would have otherwise ended up as waste. We will see products that promote biodiversity of crops, water conservation and global food security.

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Brain and gut health

A surge in nutrition studies’ outcomes on brain and digestive health is leading to increased awareness on how our food choices may impact our risk of chronic disease, mental health and everyday wellness. Many people are taking a holistic approach to their health and are interested in optimizing their performance by consuming foods that promise results. Foods and supplements with important nutrients for a balanced gut and healthy mind are growing in demand.

LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations. She can be reached by email at RD@halfacup.com.

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